2017 05 21 Gordon Green The Walk on Water (Part 2)
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Sermon summary (Click on the title) THE WALK ON WATER (Part 2) Matthew 14:22-33

 

Redhill. 21 May 2017. Presented by Gordon Green

Jesus was beginning to intensify his teaching with the disciples and preparing them for what was to come. Life would get intense and He was getting them more and more involved, active - a great way to teach. He got them to participate in what he was doing. He got them to participate in feeding the 5000 – he performed a miracle but involved them. He drew them into what he was doing and share in his love power. Old saying: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. He didn’t make his disciples sit in a boring classroom! Later these same men “turned the world upside down.”

Lesson 1: Sometimes it takes eyes of faith to recognise when Jesus is around.

The disciples were struggling on the oars, battered by the waves. The waves were washing over the boat – life threatening. They saw a shadow moving toward them on the water. As it got closer they realised it was a person – walking on the water. The disciples were terrified and the very person who was able to help them was walking towards them – but they  didn’t recognise him. How could they fail to know it was Jesus? Who else could it be? Often in times of disappointment and doubt we are no better at recognising his presence than they were. Pray  Ephesians 1:18 often!

Lesson 2: Don’t put God in a box

We want everything to make sense and be predictable. We want a bible that we can explain. Then the real Jesus turns up. WWJD? We don’t know! Expect the unexpected. Jesus told them not to be afraid – “I am the presence of safety, peace.” Clinging to the swaying boat they were mentally paralysed.

Lesson 3: Respond to God’s invitations

Peter answered, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. “Answered” means you respond to something someone has said or done. In the original language it is more of a considered response - you think about it, discern or evaluate -“What’s going on here?” Then you answer with a suitable word or action for that moment. Whatever you do or say makes sense considering what has been said. Why is that important?  Because we see Peter as impulsive – which he was. Tended to act without thinking. But don’t miss the fact that Jesus invited him - “Come.” In micro seconds (and it’s amazing what we can come up with in micro seconds) Peter puts it together. “No, it’s not a ghost it’s Jesus. He’s walking on water. I don’t understand what’s going on. But normally do we really understand what he does or says? We have seen him share his power, insight with us – he sent us out to preach, heal and we’ve seen people healed. We’ve just fed 1000’s of people. We’ve seen him drawing us into his life and ministry. We’ve seen him calm the seas. He has authority over nature. Now he’s out there waking on top of water!” He knew he couldn’t walk on water but based his decision on the fact he knew Jesus (not about him). It seems that in that moment he catches a glimpse - as if the Holy Spirit shows him something - and that’s enough. (Once Jesus asked the disciples who he was. Peter said “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Peter’s mortality didn’t reveal that to him but he received spiritual insight. This was something beyond the capability of the brain.) Jesus invites him and he obeys Jesus’ command to be courageous. Peter steps out of the boat into the raging waters. It doesn’t make sense but he does it and responds to the invitation. (Living the Christian life is about  God taking the initiative and we respond: John 3:16, 1John 4:19). Picture Peter with his hair plastered around his head and neck. He’s soaking wet. The waves saturated him. He submits his request to Jesus and Jesus invites him. And in faith, in trust, he steps out into the water. He wasn’t trying to be like Jesus. Nor was he doing it for Jesus. But he wanted to act in union with Jesus. Because he was learning that when Jesus gives an invitation it would carry with it the power of enablement to do it. So he waited for Jesus’ permission.

Lesson 4: If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat

  Why only Peter? Jesus didn’t choose who would walk with him on the water. It was essentially Peter’s idea. It seems they didn’t want to. It was safer in the boat. What is your boat?  In what area of your life are you shrinking back from? Fear will tell you what your boat is. Leaving it may be the hardest thing you ever do. Perhaps they wanted to stay with the theory (let’s talk about this over a cup of coffee). Peter had actually connected with the intentions of the Holy Trinity to actually participate in the love power of God. Jesus was delighted at what Peter said. There was no hesitation and Jesus doesn’t say I have to pray about this. Instead, “Come”. “Go for it”. It was as if Jesus was saying “Go for it Peter! Come and have a moonlight walk on the water! Let’s do the impossible together. Come and discover, come and experience what it’s like to share my life, my authority, my ability and power. Come on let’s do it together!” For a while Peter and Jesus were living in a dynamic union, connection. Both were operating in the same power (1 Corinthians 2:9). Jesus was pushing them, teaching them. “Come on, come on – this is where we are going. I want you to share my life.” Notice: Those who did not ask were not invited to walk on the water. God respects that. He didn’t choose Peter to walk but responded to his daring request.

Lesson 5: Focus on Jesus

Something we can miss is that Peter did walk on the water. Pictures always show Peter half drowning and Jesus saving him. But first he walked on water and came towards Jesus and that was not a few steps. It’s important we get this point: Everything was going well for Peter when he focused on Jesus. But then he looked at the waves raging all around him. Up until that point he was looking at Jesus. In that look was trust. But now he believed in the power of storm and saw it as  threat to his life. He moved his trust from Jesus to the waves and believes in their power. Looks within himself “I must find the power to save myself in this situation.” He was now operating outside the union with Jesus. He was yielding and drawn into their power. Jesus called it little faith, doubt. Doubt is being double minded. You stand on this thought and then that one - mentally trying to stand in two places at once. Two opposing thoughts produce chaos, hesitation, confusion.  And you now start looking at the natural way of looking at things. Peter had a second thought. In the boat were his first thoughts. “What Jesus does I can do. If he invites me to do it.” But now he has second thoughts. “Am I mad! I’m a man, I can’t walk on water. What am I doing?” Faith and doubt are choices.

Lesson 6: This story teaches us how to live our lives

This is a teaching in action. Jesus wasn’t saying to Peter that this would be his lifestyle from now on. Jesus never did it again. After the resurrection Peter was in a boat and Jesus was on the shore. Peter swam. But what is being taught here is not how to walk on water but how to live your life - in complete dynamic union with Jesus. When we walk with Jesus we are not drowned by life. Jesus Christ is in us. I live yet not I but Christ lives in me.  We ought to walk as he walks.

This is not about trying to be like Jesus but him being himself in me, sharing his life with me. That relationship is trust. He shares his love. He said the works I do you will also do. The Father, Son and Spirit have come right in the middle of our lives. And upset all our boxes. There is a life that we cannot imagine.  What wave is Jesus walking on waiting for you to join him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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